Practicing the Art of Landing Pages
I practice yoga on a regular basis and feel as though I should be practicing everyday because so much good comes out of each practice. I feel the same way about landing pages. If everyone selling a product or service used landing pages, then just think of the positive outcomes.
Like yoga, practicing the art of landing pages is not easy. For one, people scan web pages like they would a book or magazine from left to right, then diagonally across and down the page and then finally back up to the top. That leaves precious seconds to grab the visitor's attention, communicate the purpose and encourage them to act on your call to action. Sounds difficult but it's not impossible.
The second is putting the landing page together. Remember your first day of yoga? Remember the 50th? It doesn't get easier. Designing a landing page is no different and a refresher course is always helpful. Below are some of the best practices I apply to every landing page.
This should be clear and direct and an attention grabber. You want to make sure the headline is situated across the top of the page and that it tells visitors what they want to know. It should also contain a keyword to improve your PPC quality score and/or organic efforts.
Ideally, the copy on a landing page should be promotion based with one appealing message, but at the same time consistent with the brand message. Not an easy task. It should also be uncluttered with plenty of whitespace. Use bullet points to explain the benefits and include sub-heads to break up the text. Finally, write in plain English and refrain from using jargon.
This is the trickiest of all the landing page elements as most people want to over emphasize design. Remember, a visitor is going to stay on a page for no more than five seconds, so keep the design simple by avoiding overbearing colors (i.e. white font on black background) and sticking with easy to read fonts. Don't be afraid to use images but use them in a way that balances out the copy, helps tell the story, sells the product and portrays the biggest benefit.
Call to action
I recommend placing the call to action at the top AND bottom of the page so that it is always visible (assuming not everything on the page is above the fold like it should be). Try to keep the call to action "soft". For example, use "Try it now" versus something stronger like "Buy Now". Remember, a visitor may not be ready to commit to your product or service yet but are still interested. I also found that buttons tend to be better than text as they stand out more.
The purpose of a landing page is to get the visitor to understand the product/service quickly and then have them act on it. The "acting" part can be accomplished by including the following:
phone number (preferably a 1-800 number)
form submission (limit the required fields)
value proposition (white paper, coupon, contest entry)
video (this is your best selling tool, it's interactive & will keep the visitor on the page longer)
Of course, all of the above is trackable. You can help the conversion effort by including a trust/security icon and a testimonial or two to provide credibility and give confidence to the visitor.
Yoga is as much about learning as it is anything else. Landing pages, again, are no different. Test variations with a different message, image, layout and/or color to find the right combination that gives you the highest conversion rate. With some success you will find that you'll be practicing more.